Leung Mee-ping and Samson Young’s Media Art Works to Tell Stories of Hong Kong and its People

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17 September 2014

(Press release is sent by Cultural Connections on behalf of Hong Kong Arts Development Council. )

Local Artists’ Media Art Works to Tell Stories of Hong Kong and its People

Leung Mee-Ping Reminds Hong Kong Smartphone Addicts to Look at the Sky

Samson Young Unveils a Forgotten Chapter of Hong Kong History at World War II

 

(17 September 2014) Media art is about not only innovation and technology, but can also be about human relationships and history. The latest media art works by local artists Leung Mee-Ping and Samson Young, in participation of “Fleeting Light”, a large-scale media arts exhibition presented by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council, look into the smartphone culture of Hong Kong people and a forgotten chapter of Hong Kong history with their creations entitled “Star Pupas” and “Stanley” respectively.

 

Star Pupas”: Artificial Starlight to Connect Human Beings with Smartphones

 

Leung Mee-Ping’s “Star Pupas” was just unveiled the past weekend, and everyone can download a smartphone apps designed by the artist to “name” the stars, or even type out blessings to go with the stars and then share with their beloved. Leung Mee-Ping has observed that starlight are now rarely seen in urban Hong Kong owing to light pollution, and thus come up with the this idea of claiming back the stars. She has also noticed that there are far more smartphone addicts in Hong Kong, always lowering their heads, than in any other Asian cities. She hopes to invite these people to look up to the sky, with precisely the device that makes them looking downwards.

 

Leung says, “We pull ourselves back to each other with the very device that has set us apart. We will find ourselves where we have been lost.” She has designed a dome-shaped tent outside the Science Museum in Tsim Sha Tsui, and stars named by visitors and their words of blessings are immediately projected to the dome. The more stars that are lit up and shared in the bigger community, the more light and less darkness there will be. After the two-week exhibition, naming and sharing of stars can continue in the virtual world with the mobile app.

 

Stanley”: Artificial Beach to Unveil Local History During World War II

 

Samson Young’s “Stanley” creates artificial sunlight on an indoor beach, together with other works, to reflect on a forgotten chapter in Hong Kong history. From the digital image of “Day Joyce Sheet”, and important artefact from the Stanley Internment Camp during World War II, he extracts the embroidered signatures from the sheet and superimposes them with one another on photos of sunny skies. He also creates sound installations with archival recordings of interviews with Stanley internees, where the brightness of the artificial sunlight varies with the sound, striking a huge contrast between the dark history and the bright artificial sunlight in the exhibition.

 

Samson young thinks that, “Stanley’s significance as a WWII battleground is often overlooked and its history as the site of a civilian internment camp where many of the colonial government’s highest officials were held in captivity.” He therefore reminds Hong Kong people of this missing piece in local history through an artistic expression of it. Apart from the exhibition, he will also host two “Mustard Rice” dinner-performances on the coming Thursday and Sunday for participants to get a taste of how the internees were awfully fed at war times.

 

Star Pupas” and “Stanley” are both part of “Fleeting Light”, a large-scale media art exhibition presented by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council, organised by the City University of Hong Kong, in association with the Art Promotion Office, the Leisure and Cultural Services Department. Apart from the two local artists, world-renowned media artists Jim Campbell has been invited to Hong Kong to present his “Eternal Recurrence” on the façade of the International Commerce Centre (ICC) and to bring his “Scattered Light” formed by 2000 light bulbs which is now standing in Edinburgh Place, Central.

 

“Fleeting Light” is curated by Prof. Jeffrey Shaw and Prof. Maurice Benayoun of the School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong, and activities will take place from September to October at various places in the city.

 

 

Notes to Editor

For more high resolution photos, please visit: http://goo.gl/zgrwmY

 

Star Pupas

Date: 14 September to 28 September

Time: 18:00 – 22:00

Venue: Lower Piazza, Hong Kong Science Museum, Tsim Sha Tsui

Download App: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.fleetinglights.starpupas

 

Screenshots of Star Pupas: naming stars

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Screenshots of “Star Pupas”: sharing stars

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The dome-shaped tent outside Science Museum for “Star Pupas

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Words input by participants projected to the dome

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Stanley

Date: 2 September to 2 October

Time: 10:00 – 20:00

Venue: 17/F, Midtown POP, Soundwill Plaza ll, Causeway Bay (1 Tang Lung Street)

 

Artist dinner-performance – “Mustard Rice”

Date: 18 September, 21 September

Time: 19:00 – 20:00

Venue: 17/F, Midtown POP, Soundwill Plaza ll, Causeway Bay (1 Tang Lung Street)

(Please register by sending email to stanleyinternees@gmail.com. Seats limited. First-come-first-served.)

 

At the exhibition site of “StanleyStanley-1_lowres Stanley-2_lowres

 

 

Signature embroideries on the Day Joyce Sheet being superimposed on an image of sunny sky.

PosterSample_lowresDay Joyce Sheet (Image taken from the Imperial War Museum’s website www.iwm.org.uk for reference and is not part of the “Fleeting Light” exhibition.)

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Appendix 1: Programmes Overview

Programme Artist Venue Date Time
Exhibitions*        
Stanley Samson Young 17/F, Midtown POP, Soundwill Plaza ll, Causeway Bay(1 Tang Lung Street) 2 September to 2 October 10:00 – 20:00
Eternal Recurrence Jim Campbell façade of International Commerce Centre Building (ICC)(Best viewed from promenade from Central to Wan Chai) 10 September to 8 October 19:00 – 19:4020:25 – 20:5521:10 – 22:00
Scattered Light Jim Campbell Edinburgh Place, Central 11 September to 1 October 18:00 – 23:00
LIGHT MATTER The Jim Campbell Experience 1990-2014 Jim Campbell M9001, Run Run Shaw Creative Media Centre, City University of Hong Kong(18 Tat Hong Road) 12 September to 12 October 11:00 – 19:00 (Mon-Sat)12:00 – 17:30 (Sun)
Star Pupas Leung Mee-ping Lower Piazza, Hong Kong Science Museum, Tsim Sha Tsui 14 September to 28 September 18:00 – 22:00
Other Activities        
“Stanley” – Artist Talk** Samson Young 17/F, Midtown POP, Soundwill Plaza ll, Causeway Bay 9 September 19:00 – 20:00
Artist Symposium*** All artists M3017, Run Run Shaw Creative Media Centre, City University of Hong Kong 15 September 12:30 – 18:00
Artist Workshop*** All artists M8061, Run Run Shaw Creative Media Centre, City University of Hong Kong 16 September to 18 September 13:30 – 18:00
“Stanley” – Artist dinner-performance – “Mustard Rice” ** Samson Young 17/F, Midtown POP, Soundwill Plaza ll, Causeway Bay 18 September21 September 19:00 – 20:00

*There are Guided Tours for the exhibitions (except “Eternal Recurrence”). Details are available on www.fleetinglight.hk.

** Please register by sending email to stanleyinternees@gmail.com for activities for “Stanley”.

*** Please register Artist Symposium and Artist Workshop by sending email to jamesimi@cityu.edu.hk. The quota for Workshop is 15. Application should include a short application letter (no more than 150 words). CV is also welcomed.

 

 

Appendix 2: About the Exhibitions

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Download high-res images and Festival Poster: http://goo.gl/vqn54I

Curatorial Statement

Light plays frequently on the blinking side of the city. Much like Paris at the beginning of last century, Hong Kong has become the “City of Light”. We are used to covering our buildings with light, awing ourselves with this reminder of their existence, the glittering of their magnificence, the sparkling of their insignificance. Where there is light there is also shadow; the two are inseparable. This archetypal duality has informed the mythology of human existence from the dawn of time, as it has also the iconography of art across all cultures. “Fleeting Light” allows us to re-examine this conjunction in a contemporary context, both in the ‘light’ of the digital which has its own ‘on-off’ dualism, and the urban context where our over-saturated landscape of illuminations cries out for a critical revision that puts the deeper meaning and enjoyment of ‘light and dark’ back into focus.

— Jeffrey Shaw and Maurice Benayoun

Eternal Recurrence (Jim Campbell)

‘The first time I went to Hong Kong about 12 years ago I had thought about what it might be like to program the lights on one of the tall buildings. I was already making work with LED lights and was fascinated with thinking about what kinds of imagery might work at that scale without overwhelming the audience. A decade later the opportunity has come to me and in a way the ICC building is the best building for me to explore in Hong Kong because of its relatively isolated location. The challenge has been trying to come up with imagery that works with the shape of the façades where each image is 8 times taller than it is wide. An odd shape for a “screen“. The final metaphor that I’m working with is to treat the 3 screens as parallel pathways where each path is without a beginning or an end, where each façade represents a window onto a much longer journey. It was clear in looking at different forms of human movement for this work that the smoothness of swimmers in water worked well with the inherently gravity defying up down motion forced by the shape of the building.’

— Jim Campbell

Trailer of “Eternal Recurrence”:

“Eternal Recurrence” on façade of International Commerce Centre
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Scattered Light (Jim Campbell)

Scattered Light is an urban installation which has already toured around the world to great acclaim from both the public and art critics. A spectacular setting of 2,000 light bulbs is hung in a purposely unordered arrangement, and light pulses through them in a seemingly random manner. Yet as we move around the work, we discover something coherent emerging from its pointillist play of light and dark. A moving human image that is distributed in the three-dimensional space takes shape, and we see how, like we ourselves, shadows of people move about in its scattered light.

“Scattered Light” erected at Edinburgh Place in Central
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IMG_7439_lowres Copy of IMG_7393_lowres

LIGHT MATTER The Jim Campbell Experience 1990-2014

Jim Campbell’s selected retrospective exhibition of media art masterpieces will be presented in the great gallery space on Level 9 of Run Run Shaw Creative Media Centre Gallery.

Jim Campbell, Home Movies 1040, 2008
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Jim Campbell, Motion and Rest #5 (white), 2002
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Star Pupas (Leung Mee-ping)

We are all physically getting closer while our hearts are being alienated, much like the disappearing starry skies in cities; our mobiles are the most influencing factor. Leung Mee-ping invites all of you to discover the stars with an APP, What is a star for? The app will identify and light up one star, and allow you to name it so that the star becomes an individual existence in the database. The more stars are lit up and shared in the bigger community, the lighter and less darkness there will be. In other words, we are pulling ourselves back to each other with the very device that has set us apart. We will find ourselves where we have been lost.

Screenshots of “Star Pupas”: naming stars
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Screenshots of “Star Pupas”: sharing stars
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Diagram of the dome-shaped tent that will be built for “Star Pupas”
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Stanley (Samson Young)

“There’s this saying: in an all-blue world, color doesn’t exist… If something seems strange, you question it; but if the outside world is too distant to use as a comparison then nothing seems strange.” ― Alex Garland, The Beach

The beaches of Hong Kong are sites of amusement, of romance, of touristic consumption, and of artificial nature. Among the numerous beaches that dot the city’s coastlines, few are as iconic as the Stanley beach. The area is home to a public housing project, a market that sells mass-produced handicrafts and artworks, and a reconstructed Victorian-era government building that has been transformed into a mall. Stanley conjures the image of a generic sunny destination, a non-place of perpetual circulation and endless recreation that leaves not a trace.

Stanley’s significance as a WWII battleground is often overlooked and its history as the site of a civilian internment camp where many of the colonial government’s highest officials were held in captivity. One of the most remarkable artifacts to have emerged out of prisoner of war camps around the globe – the “Day Joyce Sheet” – was in fact the product of a Stanley internee. Daisy Mary (Day) Joyce, an internee who served as an auxiliary nurse at the camp, kept a large double bed sheet onto which she embroidered over 1100 names, figures, signs and symbols. The symbols were diaries in secret code, which Day created to record the mundane and the trivial, as a way to keep the hands and the mind employed during her period of internment. Even more remarkable are the embroideries of the signatures of numerous Stanley internees, which Day collected through her work and then hand-sewn onto the sheet. The Day Joyce sheet was publicly displayed for the first time in 2009.

In this project, the artist’s research on the history of Stanley has been rendered into a sound piece, an “indoor beach” installation, and a series of prints and objects. The material for the sound piece is consisted of archival recordings of Stanley internees in interview, drawn from the archive of the Imperial War Museum. These include interviews of Day Joyce, and also of Joseph Ernest Sandbach – a Methodist Superintendent and Officiating Chaplain to the British armed forces in Hong Kong. The prints features patterns sourced from the internee signature embroideries on the Day Joyce Sheet, which were then superimposed onto images of generic sunny skies purchased from commercial stock image banks.

At the exhibition site of “Stanley”
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Signature embroideries on the Day Joyce Sheet being superimposed on an image of sunny sky.
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Day Joyce Sheet (Image taken from the Imperial War Museum’s website www.iwm.org.uk for reference and is not part of the “Fleeting Light” exhibition.)
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Appendix 3: About the Curators and Artists

About the Curators

Jeffrey Shaw

Jeffrey Shaw is internationally renowned for his pioneering activities as an artist and researcher. His numerous internationally exhibited and critically acclaimed artworks are milestones of technological and cultural innovation that have had seminal impact on the theory, design and application of digital media in art, society and industry.

Shaw has provided leadership to the global field of new media research through his artistic achievements, teaching, post-graduate supervision, publications and curatorial practices. As the Founding Director of the ZKM Institute for Visual Media and the UNSW iCinema Research Centre, and as Dean of the CityU School of Creative Media, Shaw has had a profound impact on the practices of new media in contemporary art. UCLA’s Professor Marsha Kinder attests to this, stating, “Jeffrey Shaw’s achievements … have been without parallel. Not only has he pioneered the interactive arts through his own ground-breaking installations, but he has nurtured an entire generation of new media artists and theorists.”

Maurice Benayoun

Currently Professor at the School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong, Maurice Benayoun has been at the forefront of media art for the past three decades. To date, Benayoun has won over 20 international awards in the field of new media art, including the coveted Golden Nica, Ars Electronica, 1998. He has exhibited and curated in some of the world’s most renowned galleries (the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the museums of Contemporary Art in Lyon, Montreal, Seoul etc.), as well as producing collections of large-scale urban installations across East Asia.

As a critical practitioner, Benayoun has consistently prioritised ‘content’. Through his work, Benayoun aims to convey impacting messages concerning socio-political and historical issues, all the while assessing and confronting human capacities and behaviours. As a theorist, Benayoun can be credited with coining the term ‘critical fusion’, the notion that fiction and reality must coalesce in artworks to create a deeper sense of ‘the real’.

As a long-time supporter of other artists in the field, Benayoun curates exhibitions that feature the work of both established and emerging New Media Artists. As a researcher, Benayoun founded the CITU Lab of Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne and Paris 8 universities. He is also the founder and director of the H2H Lab Scientific Interest Group, and is the current leader the R&V research programme at the School of Creative Media.

About the Participating Artists

Jim Campbell
FL_JimCampbellJim Campbell is the great master of giving form to shadow from light. For decades his pioneering LED work has revealed ‘vanishing shadows’. As if they were paintings in Plato’s cave, they are illusions of reality that let us see what is happening via the evidence of their shadows; shadows that are life in motion, a continuous stream of moving silhouettes. And herein lies the magic of his artistry, because in the low-resolution matrix of LEDs that he uses, we participate in a perceptual enquiry where light itself paradoxically reveals those hidden existences in the absence of light. Jim Campbell’s work creates an embodied perception, where light whispers its fleeting reflections of life, and we listen with our eyes. Jim Campbell is born in Chicago in 1956, graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and currently lives and works in San Francisco.

Leung Mee-Ping

FL_LeungMeePingLeung Mee-ping is a Hong Kong based artist. Having studied in France and America before returning to Hong Kong to obtain her Ph.D, she has dedicated herself to art and local cultural studies. Her profound conceptual perspectives originate mainly from daily culture, which she expresses though creative mediums that include installation, mixed-media, public art and community art. Using research-based practices of experimental interaction and integration, her works incorporate elements and platforms of theatre, design, commercial space and social space in order to extend performance and action. Her works can be seen as issue-based creativity, and are concerned with ethics, community, and replicating observations of the human state of living and being. These subjects are closely intertwined with Leung Mee-ping’s research theory area of visual culture and globalisation. She is currently Assistant Professor of the Academy of Visual Arts at the Hong Kong Baptist University.

Samson Young

Signal Path II: Sinister ResonanceOriginally trained in music composition, Samson Young’s (b.1979) creative outputs now manifest in a variety of media and across disciplinary divide. His works are seen and heard in galleries, museums, concert halls and performance spaces.

In 2007, he became the recipient of the inaugural Bloomberg Emerging Artist Award with his audio-visual project “The Happiest Hour”, which marked his entry into the worlds of art outside of the concert hall. Other honours include an honorary mention at the digital music and sound art category of Prix Ars Electronica; a Jury Selection award at the 15th Japan Media Art Festival; and the New York Society for New Music Brian M. Israel Prize. CNN’s global portal identified him as one of the “Top 20 People to Watch in Hong Kong,” and in 2013 he was named “Artist of the Year” in the Media Art category by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council.

Young received a Ph.D. in composition at Princeton University under the supervision of computer music pioneer Paul Lansky. In 2007, he founded the experimental sound advocacy organisation Contemporary Musiking. He was Hong Kong Sinfonietta’s Artist Associate in the 2008 – 2009 concert season. He is currently an Assistant Professor at the School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong.

Appendix 4: About the Presenter and Organiser

“Fleeting Light” is presented by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council and organised by the School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong.

Hong Kong Arts Development Council

Established in 1995, the Hong Kong Arts Development Council (ADC) is a statutory body set up by the Government to support the broad development of the arts in Hong Kong. Its major roles include grant allocation, policy and planning, advocacy, promotion and development, and programme planning.

The ADC is to plan, promote and support the broad development of the arts including literary arts, performing arts, visual arts as well as film and media arts in Hong Kong. Aiming to foster a thriving arts environment and enhancing the quality of life of the public, the ADC is also committed to facilitating community-wide participation in the arts and arts education, encouraging arts criticism, raising the standard of arts administration and strengthening the work on policy research.

The ADC presented three large-scale media arts exhibition, including “Body Movies” (2006), “A Glow Glow” (2008), “Invention and Intervention” (2011).

School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong

As the first such institution in the region, the School of Creative Media (SCM) of the City University of Hong Kong was founded to nurture a new generation of interdisciplinary artists and creative media professionals, and to develop new ideas and technologies for the creative industry in Hong Kong, mainland China, and abroad. In its past key activities, SCM has successfully undertaken many remarkable events such as CMC Summer Festival, The Burning Edge: Making Space, Activating Form, Melting Pot, Extended Eclectics: New Sonic Adventures, and so on.